The Minister of Sports, Youth and Culture, Shaw Kgathi, has praised the acceptance of the proposal by government to establish Centers of Excellence as a way of enhancing sports talent in the country.
Giving a keynote address during the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) Annual General meeting that was held in Francistown during the weekend, Kgathi indicated that the Centers of Excellence are very important to the continuous talent identification and development.
“The concept of Centers of Sport Excellence entails the designation of certain institutions and schools for sport and the provision of the necessary support services in the form of sport equipment,” he told the participants.
Kgathi also revealed that these schools of excellence will provide training camps in preparation for regional, continental and international competitions, which can be run concurrently with educational programmes within the school environment.
He condemned the current system in which students who participate in sporting activities are removed from their schools to attend sport training camps in places┬á where facilities are available and lamented that it affects their studies.
“It will only make sense that such students attend school at one place and continue with sporting programmes throughout the year while pursuing their studies at the same time,” the Minister said.
However touching on other issues, Kgathi pleaded with the BNSC to expeditiously embark on the development of a standard coach education, officiating programme and general sport human resource base, which he stated as crucial to the development of sports in the country.
The minister also added that the government has established some facilities, giving example of the stadiums that are currently under construction in Francistown and Lobatse.
He stated that it is unfortunate that they are both behind schedule owing to contractors who are fond of asking for time to be extended.
“I otherwise encourage you to utilize these facilities which the government has developed,” he said. The Minister also applauded the BNSC for decentralizing its services by appointing the district based sport Development officers. He added that it is upon BNSC officers to make sure that there is optimal utilization of the sporting facilities.